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Twas the night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even your child.

A wonderful poem at Christmas time but its not always a wonderful time for some dads.
Christmas comes with expectations that we all should be happy and festive and for some it completely sucks!!

Christmas can trigger sad emotions in separated Dads and are very normal feelings under the circumstances

If you’re one of the dads that won’t be catching up with your children at Christmas time for reasons beyond your control, and feeling stressed and sad. We know it can awkward and sad and give you the Christmas blues. Start planning what you will do on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and even News Years Eve and News Years day if you’re not going to have the kids.

These particular days can trigger sad emotions in the best of us and are very normal feelings under the circumstances, don’t beat yourself up – Be kind to yourself.

We remember the days when we woke up on Christmas morning and gathered around the tree or the kids all came into Mum and Dads bed to give out presents and have a cuddle. But things are different now, your kids mum is now saying that Christmas Day the kids are staying with her? They are going away for Christmas? and you’re not on speaking terms to negotiate it.

You deserve to celebrate these days with or without them, so what will you do if you don’t have the kids?

Here are some ideas if your can’t think of some…

  • Arrange to have the kids Boxing Day
  • Call a friend to come over or meet them out somewhere that you like
  • Visit a family member like brother, sister or relative to spend the day/night with
  • Decorate your home and create a festive feeling for YOU.
  • Do something that makes you happy
  • Burn a scented candle and get your home smelling nice
  • Play your favourite music
  • Be selfless, volunteer at your local food bank to prepare and service Christmas meals and focus on helping others
  • Have a day of exercise
  • Binge on a Netflix series
  • Turn off all social media
  • Write out your goals for 2023 i.e. small (achievable), medium (need to focus) and large (Something to work at)
  • Keep things simple
  • Ask yourself “what can I do to make my circumstance happier”? then do that.
  • Watch what you eat
  • Don’t drink too much. Alcohol only makes you feel worse, so stay off it.
  • Get your finances in order
  • Paint that room or freshen up an area of your home that you’ve been wanting too.
  • Catch up with someone on Zoom

If you need to boycott Christmas altogether, then just forget it even exists and go indulge yourself in what makes you happy without any guilt.

Let’s remember loneliness can effect many types of people at all times of the year

Let’s remember loneliness can effect many types of people at all times of the year. Some separated, divorced, elderly, disabled, isolated and domestic violence victims all experience loneliness, let’s have a thought for all of them and wish them the best for Christmas.

If you need to talk to someone phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Lifeline SMS – Chat Service on 0477 13 11 14

If you can add any more good ideas, please add them in the comments below…

For the classic poem of “Twas the night before Christmas”…click here

Dinner conversations with Dad

Ever sat around the dinner table and wondered what questions you could ask your dad to really find out more about him?
Remember all families have been through good and bad times. There were many years before you were born that your Dad had a life probably very different to the life we all have today. Find out, you might be pleasantly suprised.

Experience, Knowledge and History

Through it all there is a wealth of experience, knowledge and history that can be explored with pre-thought crafted questions to get the conversation started. Good questions can be fun and they can also help create bonds and show that there is something larger that themselves.

Below are questions that could be written/printed onto cards and taken to your next family dinner, or even on your next zoom call if you don’t catch up for dinners? Its a good idea to pre-warn your dad so that they can weave their answers to demonstrate that they have travelled a road that has had pebbles and rocks but in the end it worked out through good decision making to show the younger generation listening that you have resilience and come through it well or at least ok.

Table Questions:

  1. How many houses have you lived in over you life so far?
  2. What do you remember about those houses you lived in as a child? Which one did you like the best and why?
  3. How did you cope without internet? What do you love about having internet today?
  4. Has there been a family member who has been a good life coach? and why?
  5. What was your favourite book, TV show, Movie when you were my age?
  6. Tell me about a family reunion or family party that you remember attending when you were a child?
  7. Was there a favourite story that your grandfather or grandmother told you as a child? Tell us
  8. What was the most embarrassing thing that your mum or Dad did to you?
  9. What were the best memories you had as a child on holidays?
  10. Did you parents ever loose their jobs? What happened? How did they start over?
  11. What did your grandparents do with you that you loved?
  12. How are you different than your parents? What did they do that you didn’t enjoy?
  13. If you could go back to a period of time in your childhood, when would that be?
  14. How did you parents change after they retired?
  15. If there was anything you could know about our family history or a relative that has died? what would you want to know?
  16. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child and how died you cope with it?
  17. Which family relative did you like the most and why?
  18. Has anything ever happened in the family that took a while to come to terms with?
  19. What career job would you have liked to do but never did?
  20. What hobbies did you have as a child? Which one did you out more time into?
  21. What Primary and Secondary schools did you go to? When did you finish school and why?

Making dinner party memories is easier than you thought, try some more questions here: 40 more dinner table questions

If you’re still lucky enough to have your Grandfather or Grandmother in your life, the answers to their question may be very different to those of your Dads.

Why don’t you write them out onto cards and bring them along to your next dinner and learn a little more about your dad or grandad? Share your experience below, we would love to hear how it went. Did you learn something you never knew? Something insightful or suprising?

The Do’s and Don’ts of managing the time your child has with you.

Not living with your child everyday can make some Dads very protective, even jealous of time with your children. While many people would think this is a normal emotion it also highlights a need to look at things differently so that your protectiveness does not effect your children or your relationship with them.

It’s not about the time you have with your child. Rather, it’s the time your child has with you.

As children get older, they take on more and more external activities such as sport, friends and school activities etc and these activities can start to get in the way of your time. The feelings your experiencing are normal. But remember they are normal growing and developments pains. Understanding this and being accepting and flexible will only benefit you and your child’s growth and development.

If you are selfishly protective of your time with your children, if you believe that they would prefer to spend time on their own personal activities or with their friends rather than you, or if you complain and whinge, and think that their mother promotes this over spending time with you then you are gravely mistaken. Making your kids feel guilty about not spending their “allocated” time with you will only distance yourself from them and never achieve a normal relationship with your kids.

The best thing you can do is to show everyone including your children that their best interests are your top priority by displaying flexibility, understanding and maturity. You will gain major points with your kids if you approach it in this way.


  • Support and encourage your child’s healthy activities.
  • Provide financial, emotional and moral support.
  • Always offer transportation and logistical support even if its not on your time or if its not the activity you would have chosen.
  • Promote practise time of all activities when they are with you.
  • Let your child go to sleep-overs or visit their friends even when its on your time.
  • Promote your child to have friends sleep-over at your place, this will help keep the normalicy around your home.
  • Get involved if possible with their sport and be a volunteer at the club.


  • Deny your child good things to get involved in such as healthy activities, promote these activities always.
  • Be upset that these activities get in the way of your time with them. Instead where possible get involved in their activities (in a non intrusive manner).
  • Ask your ex for “make-up” time for the time you have missed because of these other activities. Being a Dad and sacrificing time is normal and it is a growing experience for you as well as them.
  • Make your child feel guilty or sad “EVER” for the time that they miss with you. Your child’s healthy active activity is far better than being forced to stay at home.

If you do this right, I can’t stress how much this will benefit you. It will assist in your Children’s adjustment and development, they’ll have a positive attitude towards you, request more time with you, and your relationship with them will be more normal.

Share your experiences as a separated parent and be part of the conversation, it can benefit many dads going through separation.

Note: Some phrases and points I have used from a good read called: Wednesday Evenings and Every other Weekend.

Dads home office hacks

We have all been thrown into working from home (some call it remote) and it can be the best thing that has happened to us in our career or is it something we need to get used to?

Having more time on our hands is a gift, the time saved travelling to and from the office can give us a couple of hours back in our day. How are you using that extra time? using it to sleep in, are you getting up to exercise now you have some extra time, enjoying a longer breakfast or starting your workday earlier? Do you get dressed or stay in your PJ’s all day 🙂 All of the above is normal and you need to do what works for you.

By having that extra time on your hands and all that flexibility can be too much for some, it can make you unproductive. Let’s not discount the negative effects all that time on your own can have on your mental health. How are you looking after yourself and maintaining a positive mental attitude?

For Dads at home with the kids, how’s that working? Are you loving the extra time with your kids and getting to know them a lot better? It can take intentional efforts to balance the needs of your kids and the demands of your workday when you are all at home together.

Lets look at how you can work from home successfully

Make time for getting some fresh air and reduce cabin fever.
Start the day off with a walk, walk again around lunchtime and then again at the end of the day. This will help blow out any cobwebs, clear your head and reset.

Have a dedicated area set up as your office.
I have my office outside in an under-cover balcony. I purchased a outdoor radiator for warmth, a camp table for my desk. If you are lucky enough to have a desk/table inside? Its a good idea to set up two screens and keep your desk free of clutter. Buy a telephone/ computer headset so you can plug in for zoom meetings or connect into your smart phone enabling you to be hands free.

Stay in the same schedule as you would at work.
Meaning, get up, shower and get dressed. Its the Pajama thing that can dampen your self image. Sit down at your computer at the same time you would if you were at work, Take a break, have lunch and knock off at the same time each day. Routine is not just for kids.

Use video chats where-ever possible.
Connection is everything. We are used to seeing our colleagues more often in and around the office. That break in connection can be isolating, replace it with video conferencing when ever possible, its amazing the dfference it makes. There are lots of ways to use video meetings, some people use zoom, Facebook messenger, Teams, whatsapp and skype to name a few but there are plenty more…

Be organised with what you want to accomplish today and the week.
A daily to-do list and weekly goals is essential for some who can be easily distracted. Use your diary to place the tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. Work on the big one first, if you have ever read the book “East the Frog” will understand this. The trick is to write down plenty of things you want to accomplish and be busy!

Get dressed
I mentioned earlier the Pajama’s or trackie dacks should be avoided for your preferred work-wear. You have to dress for performance and effectiveness and be in the right mind set. Pajamas are for sleeping…right? Its also been mentioned that at the end of the day you should change again or put on a different shirt. If we don’t our home becomes our all consuming office rather than our home.

Try not to snack all day.
Having a pantry at your finger tips or within a few steps is very tempting. Snacking all day is a sure way to put on weight. Stay busy and enjoy your Breakfast, lunch and dinner with water in between. You will get used to it and your body will thank you.

Headphones with a mic will be your best friend.
If you can make them noise cancelling even better but just headphones to plug into your computer and smart phone will keep your hands free for working, if you’re an online gamer you will understand this completely.. I needed to buy an adapter to connect to my iPhone and then take it off to plug into my computer. Best home office purchase I have made aside from my 2nd screen.

Friends and family need to know you are working.
Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are 100% available to your friends and family. They need to know you’re working, so set some time limits and catch up on your breaks? If you have small children its nearly impossible, yet set them up with their own work station and get all the craft, coloured pencils and give them a daily project like The Family Tree which we recently blogged about and let them know you’ll check their work on your break 🙂

Work with a colleague on mute.
Have power sessions and dedicate time to tasks i.e. dedicate a 1 hour block to focus on any task, like, writing a report, planning for your team, calling prospects to make appointments, customer follow up calls etc. But here’s the twist, video in a colleague who wants to focus also for a couple of hours on their own task – and mute the mic! you can work like in the same office but on your own project – can see each other working but can not hear them… I love this!!

Coping strategies to keep you and your family sane…

Talk to people

Remember to pick up the phone and ring people.  We still need to hear the sound of other people’s voices.  Ring at least one person a day, whether it’s work colleague or personal friend.  Ring someone and discuss what’s happening for you and how you’ve been affected.  Listen to them also, hear their experiences, compare and discuss.  Understand that while we are all going through this together, every individual is having their own experiences at the same time.
Make it a habit to ring at least one person each day.

Managing Life
Life hasn’t stopped.  It certainly has changed, but life is still going on.  Babies need to be born, people need to be educated and the whole administration part of life continues to need attention.  Try and stay on top of your responsibilities and if you can’t ask for help.  It’s alright not to be alright.

Back to basics with Board games, art, hobbies
Dig out old games and have a think about projects you were inspired about in the past.  Bring out the artist in you, whether it’s piano, paint or playdoh, you now some to time spend on an old or new project.

Manage your exposure to media
on’t spend too much time watching or listening to the news or reports on the situation.  Getting an update in the morning, a small amount of news during the day and another update in the evening is all that’s needed.  If you spend too much time watching those reports, there is potential for everything seem worse that it really is.

These are strange and unprecedented times and while we need to know what is happening and stay up to date, we also need to look out for ourselves. 

Talk about any changes that you’re feeling
Be aware of your moods, attitudes and outlook at this time.  Are these changing for you and who do you talk to about these changes?

If you don’t have anyone that you talk to about this already, read the above paragraph on phone calls and think who in your circle of family, friends or colleagues could you talk to about what’s challenging you at the moment.

If you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else, you can always ring lifeline on 13 11 14   24/7/365 – Always there to talk.

Thank you to Malcolm Guy
M. 0403 583 927 
Malcolm is a call center supervisor with Lifeline and a trained Mediator. Malcolm helps individuals and couples with mediation, parenting plans and will help prepare you for difficult conversations. Please reach out to Malcolm directly by the contacts details above.

Activities for all age groups

Hey Dads, whether you have a 5 year old or teenagers living with you, I thought it might be helpful sharing different types of activities the kids can do during Covid-19 lock-down or simply over school holidays.

  1. Toddlers: Allocate jobs, if you have a “smart” TV, jump on youtube and search for kids dancing lessons, there are plenty of use educational videos to keep them entertained and active when indoors by having jumping, skipping or dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too;
  2. 4-6 year olds: Making dens and forts, colouring in/creating worlds for their toys, help with meals, small job around the house (chores), read books, making arts & crafts and leggo!
  3. 7-9 year olds: Set treasure hunts, get crafty, reading books, pocket money chores around the house.
  4. 10-12 years olds: Arts and craft activities, learn how to cook, set educational challenges, colouring in, Pocket money chores around the house, watch educational TV or YouTube and set study tasks for the kids to create as book or summary of what they have just learnt.
  5. Teenagers: Allocate jobs (either paid or paid) i.e. cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, their room, wash the cars, bake a cake or some treats , suggest projects, order some adult colouring books or free pages online, make plans – possible career choices, future holidays and design a dream board with all their thoughts and ideas.

If you and your children are proud of what they’ve accomplishing, send me a picture of what they’ve done and I promote it in a future post. Happy time off everyone and don’t forget t be patient and nice with everyone.

My family tree activity

Author & Illustrator: Odette.

Looking for a great learning activity that the kids can do at home, that’s also fun! All you need is a large sheet of paper or cardboard, some colouring pencils, a ruler and a little creative mind.

A family member in the UK who is a principle of 3 schools gave us this idea and shared the link to some great kids projects Click here for the schools activity link All the primary age children in her 3 schools were doing these whilst locked down at home because of Coronavirus.

The family tree project aims to provide opportunities for your child to gain a better understanding of their own family. Learning may focus on what differences makeup your families, what traditions your family has, stories linked to your family etc.

Here’s how it works:
Can your child name all the people in their family and write sentences about them? Turn the paper into a booklet, each family member great a portion (section) of the page and a unique story written about them with a nice drawing, for example; Who are they? What do they call them? What do they like? Why are they special to them?

Send me a photo of your child’s work, a little story about them and I will post it on line with credit to them.

Will you spend Father’s Day with your kids?

I hope so, its 2019 and these days there is more equality within the family home and fathers are finally recognized as being a positive influence, role model and in most circumstances crucial for a child’s healthy development.

Experts say;
Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.

It was very different 20+ years ago and in some cases still a challenge even today to be recognized as a 50/50 parent. We were classed as second rate citizens when it came to being respected as an equal parent. Its getting better but I still see and hear the cave man views and opinions from TV presenters or radio hosts when the topic comes up.

Some Dads still struggle with the lack of access to their children after separation or divorce. Its just not fair! Some mothers still try to punish the Dad by preventing access, they don’t realize that they’re hurting their child. Yep, if you’re a mother reading this and fall into this category? Wake up, you are hurting your children!

So I trust all Dads will enjoy their day with or without the kids. I am lucky enough to have an ex partner who values fatherhood and we share our beautiful daughter 50/50. Even if Fathers Day landed on her week, I’d still spend time on the Sunday with her. This weekend we are having a buffet breakfast at a 5 star hotel because we both love that type of breakfast.

If you don’t have your kids this fathers day, do something that makes you happy i.e.

  • Visit a friend and have coffee &/or a drink
  • Go out to lunch
  • See a movie
  • Get a massage
  • Go for a bike ride and blow off some frustration
  • Go for a hike
  • Go for a long walk
  • Grab your favorite beer and cook a BBQ
  • Go fishing
  • Go to the gym
  • Read a book and stay in bed all day
  • Find a sports bar with a big TV and watch the game

Remember you are amazing

You are amazing and believe it! Many conflicts arise when people try to change you into who they think you should be, how you should act and what you should say. Instead of focusing on what you should do differently they should accept you for who you are, because you are enough. They should accept your lifestyle choices, your personality quirks, and your past choices. Not just on Father’s day but every day of the year.

Have a great day Dad’s with or without the kids.

10 ways to get your teen to enjoy active time just as much as screen time

When teens become inseparable from their screens they miss out on the feel-good benefits of being active. Screen time isn’t unhealthy but being inactive is. It’s about getting the balance right and finding what they enjoy, so being active becomes a positive habit they get into for life.

  1. Enjoying active apps

An easy win is realising that screen time can be active. Some of the most engaging gaming involves VR and AR. Your teen can run from zombies, capture creatures and dance their heart out. All in a virtual world where their whole body, and not just their thumbs, get a work out. The added bonus of augmented reality apps on their phone is that it gets them outdoors too.

  1. Mucking around with mates

Playing a casual game outdoors with a few friends can be as good a laugh as gaming online. Backyard cricket, Ultimate Frisbee, a kick around in the park or a game of handball brings out the banter and gets fresh air in their lungs. And kit wise you’re looking at finding them balls and dustbins rather than a bag of pro gear.

  1. Getting into working out

Personal fitness has become highly aspirational and the gym is the new place to meet. Your teen can do the 7-minute work out with mates or workout at the free gym in the park. They can take the odd class or get the fitness bug big time and get into CrossFit. Whatever their level, there’s a device or app that will help them track and motivate themselves to stay with it and get fit.

  1. Becoming a team player

Being active is one of the many feel-good benefits of being part of a competitive team. Having a common goal and supporting your teammates through the ups and downs of competition, creates friendships and bonds that last for life. And then there’s winning! Nothing matches that feeling. Footy, netball, cricket, volleyball – find a sport and local team that appeals to your teen and watch them run with it.

  1. Honing their solo skills

Taking up a one-on-one sport or hobby that hones their solo skills might appeal to your teen more than being on a team. Sports like cycling, skateboarding, table tennis, surfing and martial arts can be competitive or just for fun, and highly social or quietly meditative. Whatever your teen enjoys most. And these hobbies don’t have to be exy – you can get a decent second-hand bike or board for a bargain with a bit of online searching.

  1. Taking up active leisure

It’s easy for teens to get stuck in a rut doing the same leisure activities with friends: chatting in a café, hanging at a mate’s house watching YouTube. Inspire them with ideas of fun things they can do free or cheaply locally that are a bit different. Like wall-climbing, kite flying, even body boarding and snorkelling if you live on the coast.

  1. Gifting fun experiences

Some activity-based experiences are expensive, but they can make a great party or surprise birthday gift for your teen. From water-parks and adventure zip-wire to roller coasters and paintball. From winter ice-skating to ten-pin bowling and barefoot bowls. Experiences make memories and get everyone up and having fun.

  1. Travelling by foot or peddle-power

Bicycling or walking places, where it’s safe to do so, saves a packet on public transport and gives your teen a great reason to be active. Not having to wait for the bus, or ask you for a lift, gives them more independence and more money in their pocket. Two things in short supply for most teens.

  1. Getting your teen out and about

You’re not the only parent whose second job is being a chauffeur. Talk to the parents of your teen’s friends. See if you can get a roster going to get your kids to their sports venues or long distance one-off events. Sharing the load takes the weight off you and means your teen is more in the mood to go because they’re with their mates.

  1. Equipping via eBay, Gumtree and Facebook

Okay, so ponies and green fees can’t be found cheaply on the internet, but a lot of second hand equipment can be. A little searching and some clever bidding can have your teen sporting some awesome gear for tens not hundreds of dollars. Get your haggling head on and get your teen out there having fun!

Want to know more about raising teenagers in a digital age? Check out Technology and Teenagers on the ReachOut Parents.

Author Bio:

Annie Wylie is the Content Manager at ReachOut Parents. She has 5+ years of experience across the media and not-for-profit sectors, using her passion and expertise for achieving better outcomes for vulnerable communities to produce stories, resources and events that matter.

Match-Day – a day in the life of an under-8s soccer coach

When I was asked to coach my son’s under-8s team I had visions of implementing a sweeper system or teaching my new team the beauty of the Italian art of Catennacio. I imagined stalking the touchline like Sir Alex Ferguson, making constant calculations and changes to our formation to exploit the gaps in our opponents’ formations.

As our first training session approached I got my folders ready filled with formations and even bought a whiteboard to illustrate my managerial genius to my new team – it took five minutes of my first session to bring me down to earth and realise how out of touch with under-8s I was.

Since he was old enough to pay attention I have bombarded my son with the history of the beautiful game; I’ve gone into pain staking detail explaining the strengths of one formation over another, how the great teams in Europe have lined up throughout history and how football is an art form, not just a sport. So when I watched as 14 kids, including my son, all crowded round the ball, playing chase the ball instead of anything resembling football I was distraught! My dream of developing the next Maldini or Messi in tatters I thought that a pragmatic approach was necessary – if I could just get them playing 442, sticking to positions and attempting the odd pass then that would be a huge step forward.

Here’s the thing I didn’t appreciate – 7 year olds don’t care. They don’t care about what some boring grown up has got to say about football; in their eyes, every minute I droned on about tactics was a minute they weren’t running around having fun. I may have taught the kids to pass a football and have a bit of understanding about formations but they have taught me way more about kids, about my son and about being a Dad.

Throw a football into a group of 7 year olds and they’re all going to chase that ball – because it’s fun! They don’t care about standing at left back or covering defence, they want to run about with their mates and have a laugh. I noticed the more I brought in formations and tactics the fewer smiles I saw. I got them playing effective football and we were killing off teams five and six nil. It was after out seventh win in a row that my son gently told me that he wasn’t having that much fun at football anymore. I was shocked – “But you’re winning every game”, “yes but it’s boring” he replied. I’d already sensed it but here it was in plain language for me – the thing he loved to do more than anything else, chase a ball with his mates, had been regimented and ruined by his over zealous Dad. At the very next training session I ripped up the tactics – threw the ball into the middle of the pitch and told them to have a go at it. They loved it, that laughter and craziness that only 14 seven year olds can bring came rushing back!

Now my life as a coach is less Sir Alex Ferguson and more substitute Mum/nurse/counsellor/mediator. And I couldn’t love it more. I’ve got to know the kids and their individual personalities; I listen to their daft stories, laugh at their terrible jokes and patch them up when they fall over. I’m basically there to facilitate two hours a week of fun with their friends, offering the odd tip that gets completely ignored and keeping injuries to a minimum. As long as I can tie their laces for them, have brought drinks and snacks and don’t impede their fun then I’m doing my job as far as they’re concerned!

But here’s what I’ve learnt – while they may not care or be ready to embrace my tactical philosophies; they all respond amazingly to chats about fair play and good sportsmanship. Kids have an inherent honesty and sense of right and wrong that is refreshingly black and white; there are no grey areas with 7 year olds! Sure they make terrible decisions, get annoyed, get carried away and can’t seem to stand still for longer than 5 seconds but they are all amazing little sponges, ready to soak up whatever example they are presented with! I love seeing them grow into fair-minded, kind and honest kids and if 1% of that is down to me then that’s a feeling that no unbeaten run could top!


Mountainside Wines Getaway

Hey Dads, if you’re like me, I look for interesting and enjoyable things to do on a weekend. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes with the kids or sometimes with both. Well, I have found the perfect spot for all of that.


Mountainside Wines
197 Mount Cole Road Warrak Vic 3377
03 5354 3279
Winery Owners: Shane & Jane Goninon

Tucked away at the south eastern end of the Grampians and at the base of Mount Cole, this Victorian premium Boutique Winery is well worth a day trip.

Approx 2 hours from the Westgate bridge, take the western ring road exit and follow the signs to Ballarat. By pass Ballarat on the Western Hwy and continue through to Beaufort where you should stop at the Beaufort Bakery for a great pie and sauce or other freshly baked food and while you’re there, check out the second hand garage and nick nack shops..

Continue up the Western Hwy towards Ararat and follow the sign to Warrak and 197 Mount Cole Road (Mountainside Wines).

Meet Shane and Jane, 

They produce premium wines from vineyards that are hand tended and hand-picked.  This allows them to focus on quality and consistency of flavour.  All their wines are made using grapes from a single vineyard and showcase the best of the region.


At Mountainside Wines they have warm days, cool nights, and a long growing season.

Added to this are the unique soil conditions of granite loam over red clay allowing the flavours of Shiraz to shine in the wine.  This means wines produced in this little corner of the Grampians are rich and full of flavour and aroma and represent a unique picture of the area.

The property itself has been growing grapes and making wine since 1998 with just under seven acres of Shiraz vines, two and one-half acres of Viognier vines, and one acre of Nebbiolo vines.  The vines produce approximately 1000 cases per year with a focus on making premium wines.

Take your time, try some wines, have a chat (Shane is always up for that) order a cheese platter and sit back and enjoy the peaceful views of this magnificent winery. I’m sure if requested you could take a walk through the vines if the weather was right.

If you don’t feel like driving back, plan in-advance to stay over in the comfy “Blue House” – bookings online essential. There’s not a better spot to open a bottle of Viognier or Shiraz or both and have a cheese platter sitting on the Blue House balcony overlooking the Vines and Mountains.

Don’t forget to mention “Dads Online” for a 10% discount on anything purchased…..enjoy 🙂

Poll: What do you want to know?

Dads Online is about to turn 5. Since the beginning we have written about many topics. I remember the early days we were all about: connecting with your children after absence, When you just cant be there, Parenting plans, Dads have feelings too, ways to make your child feel secure, What to say to the kids, The first night alone, When you have to visit the ex, Travel games, Being happy alone, Making chocolate crackles plus 100’s more.

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Dads Carpool Karaoke

As I prepare for a 5 hour drive to our Christmas holiday destination I started to think about how we could make the journey a little more entertaining & fun.

This years holiday destination we have not been to before – we hired a caravan and purchased a tent for my daughter and her friend. Its looking to be a fun trip along the Murray River in Victoria. I’ve made a list and …yes checked it twice?

  • Extra tent pegs
  • Gas bottle filled
  • 2 decks of cards
  • Eski
  • Camp stove
  • Chargers
  • Torch
  • Beach Towels
  • etc etc

It got me thinking about the 5 hour drive, off the back of the YouTube sensation Carpool Karaoke, I put together some of the kids favorite songs and included some of mine too 🙂 The car trip will take on a whole new vibe.

  • Mariah Carey – All I want for Christmas
  • Passenger – Let her go
  • Katy Perry – Roar
  • Katy Perry – California Gurls
  • Justin Bieber – Where are U now
  • Justin Bieber – Love yourself
  • Justine Bieber – Let me love you
  • Elton John – Your Song
  • Elton John – Candle in the wind
  • Eagles – Hotel California
  • Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
  • Black Eyed Peas – I gotta feeling
  • Beyonce – Halo
  • Beyonce – All the single ladies
  • Bob Marley – No Women no Cry

Now that should keep us busy for a few kilometers 🙂 The trick will be getting the girls to sing along? I’m sure they will warm up when they see Dad ripping a tune! or not? It will be entertaining and worth the memory.

I copied the lyrics from a google site and put them into a word doc, gave it a logo and headline and  bounded enough copies for everyone in the car, so no one will miss out LOL